Information on Askrigg, Yorkshire

Askrigg is a small village of around 563 inhabitants in Wensleydale, around 5 miles East of Hawes. The name Askrigg is of Old Norse origin, consisting of the combination of askr (ash tree) and hryggr (ridge), meaning the ridge where ash trees grew, denoting the existence of Viking settlers though the village was probably settled as early as the Iron Age.  By the 15th century the area around the village would have been used as grazing land. Askrigg was granted a Charter for a weekly market by Elizabeth I in 1587 for the holding of a weekly market on Thursday, and of fairs in spring, summer and autumn. By the 18th century the main trade in the village was textile manufacturing but it also had a reputation for clock making. Askrigg was the home of the Wensleydale Metcalfe family who lived at nearby Nappa Hall. Mary, Queen of Scots, was once imprisoned in the house, possibly before she was moved to Castle Bolton further down the dale. The village has a market cross which was erected in  1830. There was also a toll bar in the market place to collect payments from stallholders  and an iron bull ring set into the cobbles. This would be used to secure a bull which would then be attacked by dogs in a macabre sporting spectacle. There are two pubs in the village -the Crown Inn, known under this name since the 1850s though there has been an inn at this site since the late 18th century. The other pub, the Kings Arms, was built in 1767 as a coaching inn by John Pratt, a local who was also a famous jockey. The village once had a railway station that was part of the Hawes Branch of the North Eastern Railway from its opening in 1878 to its closure in 1954.The Wensleydale Railway Association plans to rebuild the railway from Northallerton to Garsdale  and re-open Askrigg station, amongst others.Askrigg was the setting of the 1970’s TV show All creatures Great and Small –One of the many 18th and 19th century houses in the village became Skelldale House – home of the fictional Dales vet James Herriot, whilst the King’s Arms became the setting for the Drover’s Inn.

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